The TechServe Alliance 2012 Annual Conference in Miami last month provided a great chance to meet up, share ideas, and forge new partnerships with many tech staffing people. I can now share some insights which I think will resonate with many of you. The theme that emerged for me was “growth”. Firms are hiring. They’re looking ahead with a positive outlook and their growth goals are audacious enough to make Jim Collins smile.
I must say a quick word to the “Water Coolers”, a music and comedy group, who managed to plant a few jingles in my brain – thanks guys. We weren’t even in Kansas, yet somehow Nowhere Close to My Quota brought a nervous laugh to the room, as if we were all going back to address exactly that with our staffs. As a sales growth expert working with Dave Kurlan, I was happy that his keynote address focused on tools which don’t require chasing rainbows.
Aside from the upbeat new growth push by many of our members, it’s not all South Beach sunshine out there. Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo, an overseas IT-staffing association, pointed out that a survey of over 1,500 CEOs across 33 industries found that the biggest concerns are volatility, uncertainty and complexity. “We are all operating in a massively interconnected system.”, she said. In the IT-staffing world, this is both a problem and an opportunity, as I suspect it is in others as well. Many members are taking advantage of this with new tools that exploit this complex, interconnected web of information. We saw new products from exhibiting firms which demonstrated that you can make it work to your advantage as well.
In my conversations, I found that staffing company CEOs voiced many common concerns. There are some helpful archived articles which address many of their questions. Here are some of the comments which I heard:
- “I’m not sure we have the right sales people.”
- “Why is it so hard to find great sales people?”
- “We’ve got people that have been with us a long time, but I’m not sure they can make the transition to the way we want to grow?”
- “How can we get immediate impact and drive more revenue?”
Here’s a link to Dave Kurlan speaking about evaluating your sales force.
Another question I heard from many companies was:
- “We haven’t had a great track record hiring the right candidates. What’s a better way?”
Here’s a link to several articles on selection and another to a white paper which Dave Kurlan wrote on selection. And here’s a helpful article about what it takes to hire great people, from my colleague, Frank Belzer.
Many people thought that Dave’s talk on assessments was extremely helpful. Over the years, he’s written articles which identify a particular finding from a real assessment. Here’s an article which describes a candidate who wasn’t recommended and the result was an email from the candidate which displayed exactly what the evaluation predicted!
I look forward to seeing you again at the next event.